PHOENIX (March 16, 2022) – Proving Access to Court Services (PACS) AmeriCorps members are making a difference by providing access to justice for court customers daily. In honor of AmeriCorps Week, celebrated nationally March 13-19, the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County highlights their many contributions.
If you’ve visited one of our Law Library Resource Center locations, you’ve likely been greeted by an AmeriCorps member. They assist those who visit the court in many ways, including locating forms, helping customers with the protective order process, navigating the Judicial Branch’s website and providing directions to the courtroom and other departments.
“The experience thus far as a member of AmeriCorps with the Law Library Resource Center has been extremely insightful,” said AmeriCorps member Danielle Moses. “This position has taught me sympathy and empathy, both crucial in implementing a more humanized process. This led me to have a strong interest in family court cases.”
By receiving a grant to provide service opportunities to individuals through the AmeriCorps program, the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County has been able to double its staff at Law Library Resource Centers, thus increasing the number of self-represented litigants the center can help.
Melanie Simmons, Deputy Administrator of the Law Library Resource Center, said the program is focused on serving self-represented litigants as they navigate court processes, during some of the most emotionally challenging times in their lives.
“Those whom we serve often come into the court on some of the most challenging days of their lives. Our team of AmeriCorps members are empathetic, patient, thoughtfully explain court processes, and provide legal information in a way that our customers can understand,” Simmons said.
Recently, AmeriCorps members volunteered at a Valley domestic violence crisis shelter to help beautify a clubhouse. The clubhouse will be used to provide a safe and clean space for children in domestic violence situations to play, and receive tutoring and counseling.
“I find myself coming in eager to learn and evolve more and also feel inspired at different times by either staff or a customer,” said AmeriCorps member Ashley Reyes. “Being able to help others as a Spanish speaker here fuels my serotonin as these people are being helped appropriately and eases my mind to see the court provide the necessary skills in staff members to effectively aid those with language barriers.”
The PACS AmeriCorps Program is currently recruiting for the summer session starting May 12 and running through Aug. 31. Members must complete 300 hours during their term. They receive a $1,000 living allowance stipend for compensation and are eligible for an educational award of $1,342.86 upon successful completion of the term. Interested applicants should email their résumé to PACSAmeriCorpsProgram@jbazmc.maricopa.gov.
AmeriCorps programs bring people together, bridges divides, strengthening communities, and help communities tackle some of their most difficult challenges. Each year, the AmeriCorps program provides resources to more than 2,000 government and nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to community improvement.
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The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,200 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.